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Bayonetta 3 Review

Bayonetta 3

Developer: Platinum Games
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: Available Now
Price: $59.99 USD – Available Here $79.95 AUD – Available Here


Has it really been over a decade since Bayonetta debuted? Since then, a lot has changed, as the angel slayer has become a namesake in the industry, getting an exclusive Nintendo deal along with an appearance in Smash Bros. – forever cementing her legacy with her impact, rather than just a long and tenured library. Platinum are out to fix that last part now, with Bayonetta 3 finally launching for the Nintendo Switch. Does this title still have the luster of prior releases, or is the third installment the first dark mark for the franchise? Let’s find out. 


Bayonetta 3 starts off with a bang. Introducing an alternate universe, we see a scene play out as an alternate universe Bayonetta is destroyed in front of a young woman by the name of Viola. Desperate to right the wrongs of her reality, Viola sets out to find the Bayonetta we all know and love to save all sides – with many former allies joining in along the way. For spoiler purposes, that is all I can really say about the plot, but it is indeed fantastic. This is one of those titles where you can feel the chapters melt together as the writing is still sharp and exciting, with plenty to become immersed in throughout the journey. The new characters fit great, and the old ones are just as fun in this installment, all perfectly adding to an already stellar experience. Personally, I did feel like this ending doesn’t have the punch or the satisfaction of the past two titles, but most should still leave with little disappointment as this third chapter stands tall by the time the credits roll. 


The gameplay within Bayonetta 3 has a lot of new additions this time around, but first you should know that the feel and fast-paced combat is still very much still the forefront of the experience. For those new to Bayonetta, you should know that the gameplay falls into two different categories that complement each other as you progress through. Large, focused battles have the player practice timed based dodges and attacks to avoid damage and rack up combos, utilizing the time-altering “witch time” in order to slow down the chaos and center in on a specific target. Players can upgrade equipment and concoct recipes for health and other boosting options to better their chances of survival, while also unlocking new weapons and techniques as they head into new areas. 

The second part of the combat relies on exploration. Players get some lengthy sections where they can take a look around, participate in puzzles, and hunt for rings and other currencies in order to gain strength for their next battle segment. It’s a game still built on balance, with some new options to make it feel distinct and original. Instead of summoning Infernal Demons for only climaxes, Bayonetta can now utilize new abilities to control these large, over-the-top allies in real-time battles. This means that while you can still cut down enemies the old-fashioned way, you have a great advantage in doing a quick summon to knock out larger foes in quick fashion.  

It’s interesting for sure to see this change, as at first glance, I felt it would slow down combat and was a bit worried. Thankfully, these keep that pace and enhance it a bit with new strategies that can be used to attempt to get closer to platinum ranking for each fight. Demons battle while the player “controls” their attacks nearby, where you can unleash attacks via various button inputs. Due to how seamless this mechanic is, the player can still attach parries and dodge, keeping these moments exciting and fluid. I will say that if I had any changes I would make, it would be a bit more of the blend of exploration and big battles, as I feel exploration takes a bit longer to get to this time around and doesn’t always allow the player to have those long-winded breaks from the past, as Bayonetta 3 is without a doubt more intense than the last entry. While the boss battles are fantastic in scope and feel, I do think more time to get to know this world and new sights would have easily cemented this installment as the best in the franchise, rather than just putting on par with the rest (which is still nothing to be ashamed about). 


Sure, the Switch isn’t known for power, but Bayonetta 3 still pushes the limits of the hardware with non-stop animation and fluid combat without much stutter or slowdown. Character models are crisp, and the colors look phenomenal as all the action hits high notes. Everything plays silky-smooth, and while the cutscenes could use a little bit of polish with dialogue syncing up, I had very little issue with still enjoying the story segments that quickly churn into action bouts in a moment’s notice.  


Bayonetta 2 still has my favorite soundtrack from the series, but that doesn’t mean what 3 brings is any less than stellar. This selection of tracks fits in perfectly with the quirky darkness that the franchise is known for and captures the action and thrills from the battles as the music selection changes to set the stage for even grander encounters. Hellena Taylor is hard to replace as our featured protagonist, but Jennifer Hale does a fantastic job with her new duties as she still captures Bayonetta’s charm and cocky endearment without missing a bit. The rest of the cast return and do a great job reprising their roles, with Anna Brisbin stepping into the role of Viola with a phenomenal performance played. 


Bayonetta 3 is ultimately more of what we love. While the new mechanics do a lot to make the game feel distinct and original, this is still the same action romp that we fell in love with over a decade ago. Some could argue that it is time for the franchise to start taking some risks, and to that I could slightly agree. That said, if it isn’t broken, enhance the formula- and that is exactly what this sequel is all about. Bayonetta 3 is a fine installment that creates another notch on the bedpost for this Umbran Witch, with more seamless and intense combat, and another tale that will surely be cherished for generations to come. 

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Bayonetta 3 is a delicious sequel to the action-packed franchise we all know and love. While it doesn't re-invent the wheel, this witch shows she still has a lot more to offer.
Bayonetta 3 is a delicious sequel to the action-packed franchise we all know and love. While it doesn't re-invent the wheel, this witch shows she still has a lot more to offer.Bayonetta 3 Review